Regulations and ordinances are not the answer

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Regulations and ordinances are not the answer

We need the law to keep social order. But all civilian activities cannot and should not be contained by the law. The law on social order must be enforced and abided. But more broad cultural approach is necessary to incorporate moral ethics. Different countries and societies have different and unique customs and cultural traditions. It is how a society is sustained healthy and alive.

The Gyeonggi Provincial Office of Education announced an act on operation on school foundations following decrees on student rights and parents. Every time it comes up with new manifesto, the office stirs controversy in the education community. The act on student rights triggered conflict among students, parents and teachers as well as dispute over student rights and education discipline.

Students and teachers have suddenly turned against one another. The act on parents requiring establishment of parent council running on public budget also drew protest as it can undermine the voluntary and independent nature of parent activities. Views on the act on school foundation operation also differ with some saying it could enhance sovereignty of school foundations while others fear stronger surveillance and interference from local education authorities.

In the book “Predictably Irrational,” author Dan Ariely argues that what is free is the most expensive. Before writing up acts, authorities should approach school education affairs in broad cultural context for the sake of economic and education gains. Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis reportedly drew up a 700-page prenuptial contract with Jacqueline Kennedy covering every possible detail of their married life.

But their life ended in tragedy. Marriage is sustained by love and understanding relationship, not a detailed contract. Education too should be addressed with common sense, social norm and other cultural context before regulations. It is a rule of thumb that lives on beyond the time and place.

by Kim Ki-yeon, Principal of Sangin Elementary School in Gyeonggi Province
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